Microwaves To Add New Safety Features To Prevent Small Children From Opening Them

Monday, January 25th 2021, 12:31 pm
By: CBS News

Changes are coming to new microwaves. Manufacturers will be required to add safety features so young children can't easily open them.

Qiana Foster's son Zamari was badly burned when he was 3 years old and grabbed a bowl of soup from the microwave.

As Zamari picked up the bowl, the hot liquid spilled onto his chest.

"The pain that I felt, it was like somebody threw a torch at my chest,” Zamari said.

"As I pulled the shirt off, his skin came off with the shirt,” Foster said.

Zamari was rushed to the hospital with a second-degree burn.

Researchers looked at 11 years of medical records and found more than 7,000 cases of similar microwave-related burns.

"The more extensive ones can require a stay in the hospital for weeks,” said Dr. Kyran Quinlan from Rush University Medical Center.

Quinlan was part of the research team that found children as young as 17 months can open up a microwave. With that knowledge, they pushed for new safety features.

"We wanted to change the standards so that it was harder for kids to get into the microwave,” he said.

The team was able to do just that. Starting in 2023, manufacturers will have to add some kind of safety button or latch so it requires two steps to open a microwave.

"I'm just really happy how it turned out,” Quinlan said.

Parents who want to keep kids from opening their current microwave can buy a safety latch and attach it themselves. Experts said it's also important to keep the appliance where children can't reach it.